PH Cuppers pull off sweep

By Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer

JOHNNY ARCILLA and Francis Casey Alcantara handily won the two reverse singles yesterday as the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine team completed a 5-0 whitewash of Pakistan in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 2 semifinal tie at the Philippine Columbian Association.

The 32-year-old Arcilla, who launched the country’s campaign in style by taking the opening singles Friday, whipped Yasir Khan in the last of the two no-bearing matches, 6-3, 6-4, after Francis Casey Alcantara made it 4-0 earlier by outclassing Mohammed Ahmid, 6-2, 6-1.

“I’m very happy that our rebuilding is paying off,” said team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier referring to the team changes made after veteran spearhead Cecil Mamiit gave up playing duties last year.

“With the way we played I think we are ready for the Group 2 final against either Thailand or Indonesia,” added Lhuillier.

Nonplaying team captain Roland Kraut was pleased that the team didn’t drop a single set throughout the tie, but didn’t discount the possibility of a lineup change for the Sept. 14 to 16 promotional tie.

“We are now having a lot of options which is a good problem for us,” said Kraut. “We have this team plus Jeson (Patrombon), Elbert Anasta, Marc Reyes and up-and-coming players like Jurence Mendoza.”

World doubles No. 47 ranked Treat Huey also delivered two victories for the PH Cuppers, hammering out a 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Yasir Khan last Friday then partnered with Ruben Gonzales in Saturday’s doubles rout over Aqeel Khan and Jalil Khan, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, that decided the tie.

Huey said both Thailand and Indonesia would be tough opponents in the next tie which will be played on the road. The Thais were up 2-1 over the host Indonesians at press time.

Arcilla touched off the PH onslaught with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Aqeel in the first of opening rubbers last Friday, showcasing his expertise on the shell-clay surface where he captured six PCA Open men’s crowns.

Austria trims Spain lead
Defending champion Spain blew a chance to reach the Davis Cup semifinals when it lost the doubles to Austria on Saturday.
Austrian second-time pair Alexander Peya and Oliver Marach took advantage of a rain delay in Castellon to regather and overcome Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (12) to cut Spain’s lead to 2-1. With reports from AP


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